BEIJING, China – Gilas Pilipinas ran out of steam early and wrapped up its FIBA World Cup campaign in sorrow following a 95-75 loss to Iran at the Wukesong Arena here on Sunday, September 8.
The Philippines waxed hot from deep after draining 5 of its first 6 three-pointers but turned ice-cold immediately after as it goes back home winless in 5 games – 3 in the group stage and 2 in the classification round.
Losing by a combined 127 points to Europe's Italy and Serbia and Africa's Angola and Tunisa, the Philippines had high hopes that it could crack the winning column against its Asian rival Iran.
However, Iran – led by old reliables Hamed Haddadi and Nikkah Bahrami – proved to be on another level by sweeping its two classification round games and finishing Group N at 2nd place with a 2-3 record.
With the win, Iran also secured a berth in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after edging China as the best Asian team in the tournament.
Andray Blatche chalked up 12 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals before getting tossed out for back-to-back technical fouls in the loss, which put Gilas Pilipinas in peril of crashing to last place in the 32-nation joust.
Iran 95 – Haddadi 19, Nik Khahbahrami 17, Jamshidijafarabadi 16, Yakhchalidehkordi 14, Geramipoor 12, Mashayekhi 6, Hassanzadeh 4, Mozafarivanani 4, Rostampour 3.
Philippines 75 – Bolick 15, Blatche 12, Fajardo 10, Perez 9, Pogoy 7, Norwood 6, Aguilar 5, Lee 3, Ravena 3, Barroca 2, Rosario 2, Almazan 1.
Quarters: 30-24, 48-34, 75-50, 95-75.
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.